'14 Beetle backup lights

maybe368

Veteran Member
Joined
Apr 30, 2014
Location
Phoenix
TDI
Happily none
I love my car, but 1 thing is very annoying and potentially dangerous, the crumby backup lights. I can hardly tell if they are on, the worst I have seen. Is it a problem with my car or has anyone else had this issue? Thanks...Mark
 

SilverGhost

Veteran Member
Joined
Mar 25, 2005
Location
Back in So Flo - St Lucie
TDI
'05 Golf - totaled :(, wife's '13 Beetle - buy back, TDIless
The Beetle back up lights have two things against them. They are very high up and point straight back. Also they use piddly little 921 bulbs. Basically a slightly brighter 194 peanut bulb. They are shining too high and not very bright so about the only purpose they serve is to indicate to other motorists your intent to back up.

I have been looking at LED replacement bulbs and some sort of utility light under the bumper wired up to the reverse lamps. I have found some bright bulbs on Amazon. Also I picked up a LED DRL kit from Northern Tool to experiment with. I think one or both will vastly improve the situation.

Jason
 

maybe368

Veteran Member
Joined
Apr 30, 2014
Location
Phoenix
TDI
Happily none
The Beetle back up lights have two things against them. They are very high up and point straight back. Also they use piddly little 921 bulbs. Basically a slightly brighter 194 peanut bulb. They are shining too high and not very bright so about the only purpose they serve is to indicate to other motorists your intent to back up.

I have been looking at LED replacement bulbs and some sort of utility light under the bumper wired up to the reverse lamps. I have found some bright bulbs on Amazon. Also I picked up a LED DRL kit from Northern Tool to experiment with. I think one or both will vastly improve the situation.

Jason
Thanks Jason, I wounder if super bright leds would help. Maybe there is a way to get them to point more down, but adding after market leds is probably the best. Let me know how the Northern Tool kit works...Mark
 

SilverGhost

Veteran Member
Joined
Mar 25, 2005
Location
Back in So Flo - St Lucie
TDI
'05 Golf - totaled :(, wife's '13 Beetle - buy back, TDIless
I found that SuperBrightLED uses a 194 spec bulb(LED) to replace the 921, where as the seller on Amazon sells a 921 spec bulb(LED). Only reason I'm going that route.

The idea for the Northern Tool lights was because I have seen plenty of trucks with small utility or clear fog lamps under the rear bumper for working behind the truck, hooking up a trailer in the dark, etc. I figured I could mount them slightly up under the plastic edge and have them shine down onto the pavement instead of hanging under the bumper where they can get kicked and knocked off.

I need to get on the lights idea now that I have a long driveway to back out of before sun rise every morning.

Jason
 

maybe368

Veteran Member
Joined
Apr 30, 2014
Location
Phoenix
TDI
Happily none
I found that SuperBrightLED uses a 194 spec bulb(LED) to replace the 921, where as the seller on Amazon sells a 921 spec bulb(LED). Only reason I'm going that route.

The idea for the Northern Tool lights was because I have seen plenty of trucks with small utility or clear fog lamps under the rear bumper for working behind the truck, hooking up a trailer in the dark, etc. I figured I could mount them slightly up under the plastic edge and have them shine down onto the pavement instead of hanging under the bumper where they can get kicked and knocked off.

I need to get on the lights idea now that I have a long driveway to back out of before sun rise every morning.

Jason

I feel your pain, My drive is not that long. but it was made for a model T and the curbs are about 8 inches high on both sides and it would be really easy to take out my oil pan. It is pitch dark, but I now see the light hitting my neighbor's house across the street, would work pretty good if it were aimed farther south. I mounted a couple of utility lights from a tractor on my Cummins, but it has a lot more ground clearance than the bug...Mark
 

Big Poppa Pump

Veteran Member
Joined
Feb 9, 2014
Location
Brunswick, MD
TDI
2013 Beetle TDI
I found that SuperBrightLED uses a 194 spec bulb(LED) to replace the 921, where as the seller on Amazon sells a 921 spec bulb(LED). Only reason I'm going that route.

The idea for the Northern Tool lights was because I have seen plenty of trucks with small utility or clear fog lamps under the rear bumper for working behind the truck, hooking up a trailer in the dark, etc. I figured I could mount them slightly up under the plastic edge and have them shine down onto the pavement instead of hanging under the bumper where they can get kicked and knocked off.

I need to get on the lights idea now that I have a long driveway to back out of before sun rise every morning.

Jason
Jason,

Did you install the LED bulbs yet? What's the verdict and do you have a link for the bulbs you bought from Amazon.
 

SilverGhost

Veteran Member
Joined
Mar 25, 2005
Location
Back in So Flo - St Lucie
TDI
'05 Golf - totaled :(, wife's '13 Beetle - buy back, TDIless
The LED DRL kit from NortherTool is more about being seen than to see by. I mocked it up and it is about as good as the standard back up lights on some other cars I have owned.

Plan B - a clear lens fog lamp, preferably slim rectangular so I can tuck it up out of harms way and not tacky looking.

When I buy from Amazon, most of the time, anything I saved from previous search is gone and the suggested results 'might' be useful. Here is an example (DISCLAIMER; I didn't buy these, just a representative result of search on Amazon)
http://www.amazon.com/3157-white-bulbs-ultra-bright/dp/B0083VPGHA

Usually I find more useful results down the page in "related search" and "also bought" sections.

Jason

PS; the wife made me put up lights on the garage so she can see backing out the driveway. It's an improvement but still need the work on the car.


Sent from my iPhone
 

maybe368

Veteran Member
Joined
Apr 30, 2014
Location
Phoenix
TDI
Happily none
I have been looking around and came up with these . I do not know enough about them and my first question would be: Can they be connected directly to the backup light circuit? They are weatherproof and have an adhesive backing. I think they would be a perfect solution, if they can be...Mark
 

Hintertux

Veteran Member
Joined
Sep 28, 2001
Location
Fort Walton Beach, FL
TDI
2013 Beetle TDI DSG Candy White
Found tons of LED replacements for 921 bulb, here are a couple

ZXMOTO 10 x Super Bright Xenon White T10 360° 5SMD 168 194 2825 Car LED Bulbs Light Lamp 2-yr warranty

Partsam 42-3528-SMD 6000K White 912 921 Backup Bulb Lamp

Would love some feedback from folks who may have tried them.

This manufacture talks to flickering light out issues (they don't call out 921 thought): Lumen® 194CA - Replacement LED Bulb (194, Amber)

Good write up: What do I Need to Know About Installing LED Bulbs into my Car?

Looks like you have to install a resistor too (you need to research which one): Lumen® DCDR50W6 - LED Load Resistors
 
Last edited:

maybe368

Veteran Member
Joined
Apr 30, 2014
Location
Phoenix
TDI
Happily none
Found tons of LED replacements for 921 bulb, here are a couple

ZXMOTO 10 x Super Bright Xenon White T10 360° 5SMD 168 194 2825 Car LED Bulbs Light Lamp 2-yr warranty

Partsam 42-3528-SMD 6000K White 912 921 Backup Bulb Lamp

Would love some feedback from folks who may have tried them.

This manufacture talks to flickering light out issues (they don't call out 921 thought): Lumen® 194CA - Replacement LED Bulb (194, Amber)

Good write up: What do I Need to Know About Installing LED Bulbs into my Car?

Looks like you have to install a resistor too (you need to research which one): Lumen® DCDR50W6 - LED Load Resistors
I don't think that replacing the bulbs with led's would help because the problem is that the light is sent out into space and not down to the ground. The led's that I linked to above look like they may possibly be installed down below the bumper pointed straight down to the ground. My backup lights do a great job of lighting up the license plate on my across the street neighbor's car, but does nothing to show what's on the ground behind my car...Mark
 

SilverGhost

Veteran Member
Joined
Mar 25, 2005
Location
Back in So Flo - St Lucie
TDI
'05 Golf - totaled :(, wife's '13 Beetle - buy back, TDIless
I think those light strips will give the "Fast 'N Furious" neon look rather than shining useful light. Just my opinion.

Jason
 

maybe368

Veteran Member
Joined
Apr 30, 2014
Location
Phoenix
TDI
Happily none
I think those light strips will give the "Fast 'N Furious" neon look rather than shining useful light. Just my opinion.

Jason

That is what I am wondering. There is a black part of the rear bumper that faces down at a good angle to the ground. I wonder if I could us some other type of led bar and attach it there and to the backup light circuit...Mark
 

SilverGhost

Veteran Member
Joined
Mar 25, 2005
Location
Back in So Flo - St Lucie
TDI
'05 Golf - totaled :(, wife's '13 Beetle - buy back, TDIless
Something I just thought of, they make clear LED strips like the red LED strips on the back of pickups. That under the bumper facing down should light the ground nicely.

Jason
 

maybe368

Veteran Member
Joined
Apr 30, 2014
Location
Phoenix
TDI
Happily none
Something I just thought of, they make clear LED strips like the red LED strips on the back of pickups. That under the bumper facing down should light the ground nicely.

Jason
Thanks Jason. Are they factory or after market?...Mark
 

SilverGhost

Veteran Member
Joined
Mar 25, 2005
Location
Back in So Flo - St Lucie
TDI
'05 Golf - totaled :(, wife's '13 Beetle - buy back, TDIless
I'm thinking of those aftermarket ones the truck guys put between the bumper and tailgate. Still trying to convince my dad to put one of those on his truck. I have do some digging to see if I can find a retailer for the clear ones.

Jason
 

Hintertux

Veteran Member
Joined
Sep 28, 2001
Location
Fort Walton Beach, FL
TDI
2013 Beetle TDI DSG Candy White
I don't think that replacing the bulbs with led's would help because the problem is that the light is sent out into space and not down to the ground. The led's that I linked to above look like they may possibly be installed down below the bumper pointed straight down to the ground. My backup lights do a great job of lighting up the license plate on my across the street neighbor's car, but does nothing to show what's on the ground behind my car...Mark
I was just pointing out a resister would be needed for LED light replacements. Don't disagree that the backup lights could use some help in how they direct their light.

Lights under the back bumper would help but it would have to be a bright white or amber color to see the road..
 

maybe368

Veteran Member
Joined
Apr 30, 2014
Location
Phoenix
TDI
Happily none
OK, after some experimenting with 2 different types of led reverse lamps from superbrightleds.com, #'s PT-WHP10, the one I ended up using, and RT-W24, the square one:

I taped them up on the bumper in various locations to see how well they worked. The square ones definitely are brighter, but I could not really find a good location where they both worked and lit up the right area. I did find out that the closer to the corner of the car the better. The rectangular ones are not quite as bright, but do the job. I considered cutting them into the black part of the bumper, but rejected that idea. I really did not want to drill any holes and to make the car completely restorable to original. It is best to remove the tail light assembly in order to pass the wires. It is very easy, just remove the electrical connector by raising the red lock, squeezing the retaining tab and removing the connector. Then just unscrew the white plastic retaining screw and remove the tail light assembly.

The led's come with 3 wires: red, white and black. The white is negative/ground and the red is positive/hot and the black is for brake lights, which may not be a bad idea to hook up, except that it would probably be illegal. I decided to pull the wires for the lights from one side to minimize the possibility of messing something up. Once the connector is off, I used the correct wire release tool to remove the light blue with black stripe and the brown wire. Don't forget to open the secondary lock on the connector, see pic below.That is the hot and ground for the reverse lamps. I then carefully took off a bit of insulation from the wires with a razor blade and soldered the pigtails on to them. I then put a piece of shrink tubing on and replaced the connector pins.



I then ran the 2 wires for the lamps through the rubber grommet for the fuel door wire. I used White and red wires because that matches the led lamps. Feeding the wires down to the space behind the bumper is easy with the tail light assembly removed. I ran them through wire looms and secured them with pull ties.

I then looked for a place to put the lamps that would light up the area behind the car and would allow me to mount them without putting any holes in the car. I ended up using 1 existing screw on the car and fabricated up some brackets for the other side. I had a couple of old trim pieces from an old boat that I ended up using. You can use just about any light weight material for this or if you have a C&C machine you can really do it right. I decided to use the lower-inner bolt from the bumper mount. It sure wasn't very factory tight and was real easy to get out. It was then just a matter of placing the trim piece, marking it and bending it in a vice. The aluminum was real easy to shape and the brackets came out real good.





to be continued...
 
Last edited:

maybe368

Veteran Member
Joined
Apr 30, 2014
Location
Phoenix
TDI
Happily none


I Should say that I bought all of the stuff from superbrightleds.com and here is a list of what I bought:
pt-whp10 led lamp (x2)
pt-brkt bracket
gr-65 mounting grommet
pl-3r pigtail
I also bought a chrome bezel that I did not use:
kc-65 Chrome bezel
The total cost to me is around 85 dollars, not counting the installation stuff like wires and pull ties. The entire job is less than 100 dollars.



I think that it looks pretty good and it definitely lights up the area behind the car. I messured the distance from the lowest point on the car to the ground and the same from the lamps and it is only 1/2" to 3/4" lower. I will also have to be careful backing over parking curbs, but I don't go over them anyway. Well worth it and the car is much safer...Mark
 
Last edited:

maybe368

Veteran Member
Joined
Apr 30, 2014
Location
Phoenix
TDI
Happily none
This pic may make it easier to see where they are located:



Mark
 
Last edited:

SilverGhost

Veteran Member
Joined
Mar 25, 2005
Location
Back in So Flo - St Lucie
TDI
'05 Golf - totaled :(, wife's '13 Beetle - buy back, TDIless
So I finally got around to doing something about the abysmal backup lights.


$19 on Amazon for a pair. I put one on each car, so that's the light from one lamp.

Jason


Sent from my iPhone
 

maybe368

Veteran Member
Joined
Apr 30, 2014
Location
Phoenix
TDI
Happily none
So I finally got around to doing something about the abysmal backup lights.


$19 on Amazon for a pair. I put one on each car, so that's the light from one lamp.

Jason


Sent from my iPhone
That is pretty bright Jason, have you got a pic of how you mounted it?...Mark
 

SilverGhost

Veteran Member
Joined
Mar 25, 2005
Location
Back in So Flo - St Lucie
TDI
'05 Golf - totaled :(, wife's '13 Beetle - buy back, TDIless
I'll post a picture of it mounted when it thaws, but here is the light from Amazon.

I tucked it in tight to the bumper cover and attached it to the metal tab that supports the bottom lip of the bumper.

Jason
 

SilverGhost

Veteran Member
Joined
Mar 25, 2005
Location
Back in So Flo - St Lucie
TDI
'05 Golf - totaled :(, wife's '13 Beetle - buy back, TDIless
Here is couple of the light mounted on the car;


That's the muffler on the right and the bottom edge of the bumper cover on the left.
Almost looking into the backside of the bumper cover. I had a "L" bracket from the hardware store and drilled a hole in the metal tab that supports the bumper.



Jason


Sent from my iPhone
 

tdinewbieguy

New member
Joined
Nov 17, 2016
Location
Los Angeles
TDI
2012
The Beetle back up lights have two things against them. They are very high up and point straight back. Also they use piddly little 921 bulbs. Basically a slightly brighter 194 peanut bulb. They are shining too high and not very bright so about the only purpose they serve is to indicate to other motorists your intent to back up.

I have been looking at LED replacement bulbs and some sort of utility light under the bumper wired up to the reverse lamps. I have found some bright bulbs on Amazon. Also I picked up a LED DRL kit from Northern Tool to experiment with. I think one or both will vastly improve the situation.

Jason
Not sure about this but I signed up to ask this question, saw a TDI that had LED strips under the bumper, but the music it was playing was in sync with the lights and how it was blinking.

Similar to this Arudino setup http://bestrgbledstrips.com/2016/11/18/rgb-led-strip-arduino/

Do you know how he did it? Is there a way to connect rgb led strips with Arudino directly to the car's audio system?

I'd like to do this with Christmas songs on my TDI. So I was wondering about his. Really all I came for lol
 

SilverGhost

Veteran Member
Joined
Mar 25, 2005
Location
Back in So Flo - St Lucie
TDI
'05 Golf - totaled :(, wife's '13 Beetle - buy back, TDIless
They sell those in audio electronics and even some parts stores now. Just a variation on the LED lights they have been selling for a while now.

Jason
 
Top